16 May 2008
A major review designed to deliver smaller and better-trained school governing bodies began last week.
A working group, chaired by schools minister Jim Knight, will develop proposals on how the bodies can best foster schools' direction and ethos, listen to parents and local communities and help to turn around
The school governance review, announced in the December Children's Plan, will report in the autumn.
Knight said: 'A consistent theme from research is that the most effective governors take a strategic role in guiding and supporting the school's work and challenging head teachers to take their school on to the next level.
'There is clear evidence that there is a relationship between good governance and pupils' achievements, the quality of teaching, as well as the quality of leadership and management.'
Concerns have been raised that some school governors might lack the necessary skills and expertise. Last year, a report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said too much was being expected of them. It noted that in some areas it was difficult to recruit and retain adequately skilled individuals.
The National Governors' Association responded with caution, saying there was no research to show that governing bodies were failing in their task or that smaller governing bodies would be more effective.
NGA chair Judith Bennett, who is also a member of the working group, said: 'We are concerned that ministers are intent on change that may not improve the quality of governance in our schools. Governors need improved training and better quality support from both central and local government.'